I saw this SplitStream aerobar design in the summer copy of Innovation, the IDSA quarterly magazine, which I received last week. The design by Stanford design student David Baggeroer was featured because it won a second place prize in the Dyson and IDSA sponsored Eye for Why competition. Instead of having two main hand positions like most aerobars that are used for time trails or triathlons, the SplitStream has a hinge that allows the bars to switch from wide to aero position on the fly. Having just completed a local time trial the day before I received the issue, I have to say this moving aerobar concept initially made me a bit nervous. I put a lot more torque on my bar during a race against the clock than I would on a normal ride, so I don’t know how I feel about a hinge in the center. Switching from the aero position to the outer hand position is not difficult with existing bar set ups, so the only possible advantages I can see from this concept are; 1) improved aerodynamics from removing the outer wings when they aren’t being used, and 2) the availability of brake levers and shifters in either position. Looking for more information about this design concept, I noticed a discussion about it on the Core77 forum. A few of the forum posts are pretty hard on the design, but I agree with the people who thought a prototype would be needed to really prove it out. Like many of the people on the Core thread, I am a bit skeptical, but I think the idea probably has some merit as a concept. I would love to see the designer make a prototype, try it out, and refine it further.
Update 7/15/08: Dave B., the designer of this concept commented with more information. Apparently he did make a working prototype, which you can see at a post on his blog. Check out his post for additional renderings, drawings, and explanation of the concept as well.
Several people sent me a link to this Gizmodo post about a folding bike transforms into a backpack. I don’t know what else I can add to that post, but I will mention that I saw the link at Cyclelicious as well.
Last week, Devin from CLIX sent me some information about their product. Basically, CLIX is a quick release system that is designed to be fool proof. The best way to see how it works is to watch the video on their website that shows a wheel removal and reinstallation. When I worked as a bike mechanic many years ago, I remember quite a few bikes coming though the shop in which the quick release lever had been twisted on like a wing nut and the cam was not closed. Though I would bet everyone reading this knows how to properly operate a quick release, there are many people out there who do not, so I am happy to see a design that aims to make the process more intuitive. I would love to try it out for myself, but at first glance it looks like a good solution to me. For more on CLIX, take a look at a post last week on Mountain Biking by 198.